No matter who you ask, there seems to be universal agreement about one thing that hangs over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season.
The retirement of Tom Brady back in February altered the outlook for the Bucs rather significantly, but how you interpret that depends on who you are. Most folks seem to have taken Brady’s retirement as a sign that the team is going to fall back hard in the opposite direction, especially given how much it started to slide that direction last season with Brady still on the team.
Others are looking at the absence of Brady in an entirely different way. It should come as no surprise that those people are in the Buccaneers locker room and their outlook on this season is far less negative than what is happening outside of that bubble.
Part of that negativity is due to the optics of who the Bucs signed to be the next quarterback after Brady. When Baker Mayfield was signed back in March, every internet troll had the same exact joke about how it looked, something that fueled the narrative that the Bucs would be DOA without Brady when the season started.
As it turns out, Tom Brady is still motivating the Buccaneers just not in the way you’re probably thinking.
Baker Mayfield says Bucs are ‘hungry’ to prove they can win without Tom Brady
In a recent appearance on the God Bless Football podcast, Mayfield once again addressed the Tom Brady-sized elephant in the room. This time, though, he gave the kind of fiery response that should raise the right eyebrows.
“Obviously, Tom Brady, greatest quarterback of all time; everybody talks about that,” Mayfield said. “But that only makes our veterans that were a part of the Super Bowl run even more pissed off and hungry. Because they’re like, ‘Well, we’re a part of it, too.'”
We all sort of figured this might be the case, but it’s nice to actually hear it confirmed.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Bucs players suggest that they’re looking forward to proving the haters wrong. Carlton Davis gave a NSFW quote about ‘wrecking’ the rest of the league, while Rachaad White plainly admitted that there’s a chip on everyone’s shoulder.
Baker is saying the quiet part out loud about how much of the chip involves the narrative around Brady leaving the team.
It’s also worth mentioning that this fits with what we’ve heard about Baker so far this offseason. His decision to sign in Tampa Bay was made with long term intentions, and this quote is further confirmation that he’s all-in on the Bucs and isn’t just going through the motions for a paycheck.
To be clear, no one is aiming any of this at Brady who seems to have been nothing but supportive since he left. Instead, there’s solace in knowing Bucs fans aren’t the only ones dealing with the weird anti-Bucs agenda that has cropped up this offseason, and a Revenge Tour appears to very much in the works.